Austin Lecture

The sixth Dr. Robert L. Austin Endowed Lectureship will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 in HEC Lecture Hall 1.

The topic is “Understanding Homelessness and Responding to Childhood Trauma and ACEs: Clinical and Community Perspectives.”

The guest speakers are: Paul M. Leon, RN, BSN, PHN, a public health nurse with the County of Orange Health Care Agency and the CEO and Founder of the Illumination Foundation.

Geeta Grover, MD, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, as well as both a clinical professor of pediatrics at UC Irvine and an attending physician for the teaching clinics at CHOC Children’s Hospital and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Pooja Bhalla, DNP, RN, joined the Illumination Foundation as chief operating officer in 2017 and oversees all program operations, development and implementation.

The Dr. Robert L. Austin Endowed Lectureship in Pediatric Medicine and Pediatric Health Care Policy is made possible by a generous donation from Mrs. Gloria L. Austin of La Mirada, California in memory of her husband, Robert, a pediatrician and early supporter of the University. In addition to the lecture, the endowment provides funds for annual scholarships for both an osteopathic medical student and a pharmacy student.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 to Rocki Crisostomo, Special Events Coordinator, at If you need disability-related accommodations, please contact the Center for Disability and Health Policy (CDHP), LaDonna Cash at 909-469-5492.

Click here to view the Austin Lecture website:



WesternU paleontologist helps recover rare Brachiosaurus in Utah

A team of paleontologists from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, and the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal, Utah, has recovered a 6-foot, 7-inch humerus (upper arm bone) belonging to the rare, 30-plus-ton dinosaur Brachiosaurus from the desert of southern Utah.

WesternU College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and College of Podiatric Medicine Associate Professor Mathew Wedel, PhD, assisted with the discovery and excavation of the giant bones. Wedel has loved dinosaurs since he was 3 years old, and started working with dinosaur fossils in 1996. The team first visited this site in 2014, and after five years of work found not only the humerus but also several fossil plants in the surrounding area, which will tell them more about the Brachiosaurus’ environment.

“We are excited about the progress we’ve made so far, and we’re excited to now have a place to go back to where hopefully more big bones are waiting for us,” Wedel said. “The plants are almost as exciting to me as the brachiosaur because we’re not just headhunting. We’re not stamp collecting. We want to understand the world these animals lived in. We’re trying to be biologists of the past.”

Click here to read the full story and view a video.



From the College of Health Sciences:

Kudos on accomplishments
Health Sciences student Michelle Deterville has been accepted as a Fellow in the Randall Lewis Health Policy Fellowship. The purpose of the Randall Lewis Health Policy Fellowship program is to ensure the development of health professionals who possess the necessary skills to influence positive change in public policy, systems, and the built environment in our local municipalities. This competitive fellowship places worthy students of public health in targeted placements for year-long fellowships.  Fellows complete real-world professional development while serving high-need communities. The Fellowship spans the fall and spring semesters and provides a stipend that supports students while they work 15 to 20 hours per week at their placements. Deterville’s scope of work will take place in the City of Perris and includes developing, implementing, and evaluating the G.E.A.R. (Getting Employees/Everyone to Actively Ride) transportation program; developing and implementing the tobacco control initiative, evaluating the S.T.A.R. (Students Taking Attendance Responsibly) pilot program; and expanding the Grow Perris healthy eating program. WesternU’s Health Sciences program has partnered with the Fellowship since 2013. Deterville also is in the second year of internship with the Orange County Regional Center on a project three CHS students have worked on for about five years.



From the College of Optometry:

Free glaucoma screenings
In celebration of Glaucoma Awareness Month, the WesternU Eye Care Institute provided free glaucoma screenings to 107 participants on Jan. 28 and 30. Participants won prizes, learned about glaucoma, received an eye pressure check, were assessed for their personal risk factors for glaucoma and some went on to schedule an eye exam. Click here to view photos on Facebook.



From the Department of Strategic Alliances:

Jan. 25 Health Career Ladder
Health Career Ladder (HCL), which encompasses American Indian Health Career Ladder and Pomona Health Career Ladder, had a successful turnout of 300 community participants from both the Pomona and Native American communities Saturday, Jan. 25. The program’s continued success would not be possible without the strong contribution from the student club Pipeline to Health Careers, and over 100 student volunteers from the following colleges: COMP, College of Dental Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy, College of Optometry, College of Graduate Nursing,  College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences.

January’s event focused on Disabilities, and student volunteers from the Department of Physical Therapy were spread across six different academies focused on grades K-12 to teach student participants the appropriate methods to utilize assistive devices. HCL also provided programming to parents of students, with sessions focused on financial aid for college from the Pomona Unified School District and on learning disabilities from our partners at Riverside University Health Systems (RUHS). RUHS has been a participant of every HCL event this academic year, delivering two different workshops to our eighth-grade academy and our parents. Pictures from the HCL event can be viewed here on Facebook.

HCL is a free monthly event for Pomona and local communities, including our WesternU family. The academies are focused on different grade levels, starting with kindergarten to 12th grade. All student curriculum is delivered through a hands-on, engaging approach, regardless of which academy a student is in. Our next Health Career Ladder will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22 on the WesternU campus. If you or families you know may be interested in attending, please contact Maria Moreno, Manager of Pipeline Programming for registration information

Crean Lutheran High School field trips
The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) with support from the Department of Strategic Alliances held two field trips in January for Crean Lutheran High School from Irvine, California. The first field trip on Jan. 9 provided 38 juniors and seniors with hands-on curriculum delivered by the College of Dental Medicine, Master of Science in Health Sciences in the College of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, and an anatomy session. The upperclassmen were treated to a lunchtime panel comprising of students from the College of Podiatric Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy, Department of Physician Assistant, COMP, CDM and MSHS. WesternU students were able to share their pathways to their current program, including the many challenges and provide helpful tips to the students.

The second field trip, held on Jan. 22, welcomed 48 freshmen and sophomores to WesternU, with all sessions provided by COMP. The high school medical track teacher, Ruth Cheung, provided the following feedback about her students’ experience: “WesternU provided an engaging, hands-on, top-notch program for our medical cohort. Students were excited to actually perform the activities that medical professionals do instead of just watching someone do it for them. Also, students were provided many opportunities to converse with medical students in a small group atmosphere. Thank you, WesternU, for inspiring the next generation of health professionals!”

LMSA and the Department of Strategic Alliances have been hosting similar field trips for the past two year, predominantly focusing on students from underserved communities and those underrepresented in healthcare. All colleges are welcome to participate in future field trip events. If you have any inquiries, please reach out to Helen Musharbash, Director of Educational Partnerships and Outreach at



From the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific:

Kudos on accomplishments
Student researchers attended the annual Western Medical Research Conference in Carmel, California. Three second-year WesternU COMP students took home first prize for their research and oral presentations:

Jenna Sugar: “Long-Term Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Among Preterm Infants Exposed to Gestational Diabetes”

Kiranpreet Dhaliwal:  “Annualized Rate of Cortical Change In First Episode of Psychosis”

Trenton Lum: Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Of Preterm Infants Who Received A Blood Transfusion”

COMP alumnus Bruce Chau, DO ’84 was named, for the fourth time, a Top Doc in Detroit by DetroitHour magazine in the category “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Not Cosmetic).”

COMP alumnus Scott Ellner, DO ’99, was selected as new CEO of Billings Clinic in Montana.

Vishwanath Venketaraman, PhD, and first-year COMP student Rachel Abrahem were featured in the Journal of Clinical Medicine for their published work titled “Elucidating the Efficacy of the Bacille Calmette–Guérin Vaccination in Conjunction with First Line Antibiotics and Liposomal Glutathione.”

COMP-Northwest students Michael Haddad, Joe Wang, Hannah Killian, Jerry Chen, John Henderson, Cho Ki Tam, and Jewell Roth helped lead a medical innovation workshop as part of a CME course titled “Competent in Compassion” last month. The course was successfully developed by Assistant Vice President, Oregon Campus Di Lacey. The students, led by Professor Brion Benninger, MD, MBChB, MSc-Sports Medicine, Executive Director, Medical Anatomy Center, demonstrated the Sonivate ultrasound biprobe finger unit, Clarius wireless artificial intelligence hand held ultrasound unit, GE hand held dual probe Vscan extend unit, Google Glass, Eagle Vision video laryngoscope, 7-Sigma high fidelity simulation, CAE transthoracic ultrasound, Sectra visualization table with VH Dissector and VR anatomy from Toltech.



From the College of Graduate Nursing:

Screening of the documentary “Not Carol”
The Western University of Health Sciences College of Graduate Nursing Maternal Mental Health Committee will hold a screening of the new documentary film, “Not Carol” at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. The film, from multi-Emmy winner Planet Grande Pictures, is a feature-length documentary following the case of Carol Coronado.  “Not Carol” takes a deep dive into the taboo world of maternal mental health, blowing the lid off a national epidemic that is ravaging families at a shocking rate.

The screening will take place in WesternU’s Health Education Center, Lecture Hall 2, 701 E. Second Street, Pomona, California.

The film will begin promptly at 5 p.m., followed by a Q&A Panel. For more information on the film call Dr. Gwen Orozco at 909-469-8438. Cost is free. Bring your family and friends.

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact the Postpartum Support International Helpline: 800-944-4PPD (4773).

Click here to view a flier.